America's High Tech Sweatshops Essay

The topic I chose to research and present my findings upon is high-tech sweatshops that are peppered around the United States. I based my topic off of an article from BusinessWeek Online titled “America’s High-Tech Sweatshops” written by Steve Hamm and Moira Herbst. This topic sparked my interest because I did not know such activities transpired in the United States of America. I feel this article shines a light on an issue the American people are not aware of and something American businesses either are not aware or do not care to be aware of something so unjust.

The main issue discussed in this article is how small tech companies in America are committing fraud and violating U. S. law when it comes to visas for foreign workers and charging many fees to foreign workers. Many of these companies can be found in northern New Jersey right across the Hudson River from the booming city of Manhattan, New York. The high-companies tend to focus on younger workers from foreign countries, such as India. They offer these young workers a comfortable job in the U. S. nd a chance to pay for a visa to work in the U. S. for a certain amount of time. This visa is known as the H-1B and around 65,000 of these are given out to foreign workers every year. The H-1B is a temporary work visa that allows professionals to work in the U. S. and stimulate the economy for three to a maximum of six years. A Green Card is needed to stay in the U. S. after these six years expire (“H-1B Work Visa”). Many of these companies have horrible outcomes for the foreign workers who are trying to come to America for a better future.

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The first negative outcome is the foreign worker gets to the U. S. and realizes, after paying enormous fees for a temporary work visa that they never really got a visa because the visa is held by the employer, not the employee. This can lead to being kicked out of the country by the government. The second negative outcome is the worker gets to America and finds that the company has no open job for them. This is against the law because a company must have a job open for the foreigner before applying for the visa for them.

The third negative outcome is an employee has a job but money is taken out of their paycheck for the huge visa fee. Also, if they have a job they may not be paid in between jobs at different job sites. Both of these actions are illegal for the companies to practice (Hamm, and Herbst). Rarely do the foreign workers get what they signed up for from the advertisement they first encounter. Why have these tech companies survived? Reasons for their survival included the downturn of the U. S. economy. Larger companies look for ways to cut costs wherever is possible.

These larger companies have realized it is more cost effective to give some high-tech work to smaller high-tech companies all over the U. S. through outsourcing. They tend to outsource management of tech systems and other operations to these smaller outfits. Large companies have discovered it is also more cost effective to have a smaller workforce at each satellite worksite and outsource projects to small high-tech companies. The small companies are mostly made of foreign workers in American on the H-1B visas and the companies have become known as “body shops” (Hamm, and Herbst).

What makes this entire situation worse is the fact that the large companies employing the small high-tech companies do not even know about the injustice that is happening. Even if the large company has even an inkling that it may be occurring, they usually do not try to find out. Many American companies have been found to outsource to these small tech firms and later discover they have been tangled in a web of visa violation with the government. There are many layers in between the large and small company; and it is never clear who is working for the outsourced company and their situation.

Law enforcement has been known to miss these small companies doing illegal activity because they are so small. There is not enough man power to research and catch all the small tech companies in the act of visa violation (Hamm, and Herbst). The government needs to be more aware of this problem and make a greater effort to investigate any tip about an illegal operation. Many U. S. tech workers have an issue with the outsourcing of foreign workers. They believe this action lowers their income and creates a clear passageway for taking jobs to different countries.

In the end, many U. S. tech workers have lost their jobs because of this situation. On the other side, the tech service companies feel they are being over scrutinized for U. S. job loss and contend that they are only trying to appease their client’s wants and desires (Hamm, and Herbst). It is unfair that U. S. workers lose their jobs and honest foreign workers never get a chance to work. Overall, the U. S. tech workers and the foreign workers coming to America under false pretenses both lose in the end. This situation is unjust and must be squelched immediately.

It is not fair that a company can advertise a job to qualified overseas workers, and offer to provide an H-1B visa, but their only purpose is to pilfer the foreigner’s money in fees and get away with not having a job available for them. I feel that this article highlights a very dark part of international business gone wrong in the U. S. The false pretenses and unexpected lack of a job for the foreign workers creates a bad taste in the mouths of every person who was willing to do business with the U. S. in the small high-tech industry.

It is also disappointing that many respected American companies are in some ways connected to these illegal operations. More effort must be put forth to totally eliminate high-tech “body shops” in America. Works Cited Hamm, Steve, and Moira Herbst. “America. ” BusinessWeek 01 Oct. 2009: Web. 6 Oct 2009. <http://www. businessweek. com/magazine/content/09_41/b4150034732629. htm>. “H-1B Work Visa. ” US Immigration Support. 2009. US Immigration, Web. 5 Oct 2009. <http://www. usimmigrationsupport. org/visa_h1b. html>.


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